Aviva Directory » Local & Global » North America » United States » States » Michigan » Cities & Towns » Highland Park

An inner suburb of the Detroit Metro Region, the City of Highland Park, Michigan is surrounded by Detroit, except for a small section in the southeast that borders on Hamtramck.

The city is a 2.9 square-mile community in the center of the metropolitan Detroit region. Surrounded by Detroit, except for a short border with Hamtramck, which is itself otherwise surrounded by Detroit, Highland Park is integrated within the Detroit Metro transportation system. The city is adjacent to I-75 (Chrysler Expressway) on the west, and M-10 (John C. Lodge Freeway), and bisected by M-8 (Davison Freeway) and M-1 (Woodward Avenue). Detroit's Midtown District and historic Boston Edison neighborhood are one mile south of Highland Park.

Besides Detroit and Hamtramck, other cities and villages within twenty miles of Highland Park include Ferndale, Hazel Park, Oak Park, Pleasant Ridge, Center Line, Madison Heights, Royal Oak, Huntington Woods, Dearborn, Southfield, Berkley, Lathrup Village, Clawson, River Rouge, Grosse Pointe Park, Harper Woods, Melvindale, Warren, Birmingham, Grosse Pointe, Grosse Pointe Farms, Grosse Pointe Woods, Troy, Bingham Farms, Dearborn Heights, Eastpointe, Franklin, Ecorse, Allen Park, Grosse Pointe Shores, Lincoln Park, Garden City, Livonia, Inkster, Bloomfield Hills, Roseville, Farmington Hills, Fraser, St. Clair Shores, Southgate, Sterling Heights, Wyandotte, Farmington, Taylor, Wayne, and Orchard Lake.

Highland Park's history and future are closely tied to that of Detroit and the other communities in the Detroit Metro Region. The area that was to become Highland Park began as a small farming community situated on a large ridge at what is now Woodward Avenue and Highland, six miles north of Detroit. Richard Ford, who built a cabin on the ridge, is acknowledged as the first settler. His homesite was leveled when Woodward Avenue was extended from Detroit, however.

In 1818, Augustus B. Woodward, a prominent Detroit judge, bought the ridge and platted the village of Woodwardville in 1825. The village failed, and another Detroit judge, Benjamin F.H. Witherell, platted a village on the same site, to be named Cassandra, but this failed, as well.

By the 1870s, there were enough settlers in the area to support a post office, which was opened as Whitewood on February 12, 1873, with Adolphus Trombley as postmaster. The post office was closed on October 20, 1875, but restored on January 25, 1876, with John T. Mott as postmaster. In 1889, the community was incorporated as the village of Highland Park.

Highland Park was first included in the census in 1900, with a population of 427. By 1920, its population had surged to 46,499, peaking at 52,959 in 1930. By the turn of the century, Detroit had become a busy port, as well as a significant manufacturing center for marine engines. The manufacture of bicycles, carriages, and rail cars had also become important regional industries. It should be no surprise that the Detroit Metro Region would play a central role in the birth of the American automobile industry.

In 1907, Henry Ford acquired property between Woodward Avenue and Oakland Street to build a new automobile factory, as the Ford Motor Company had already outgrown its facilities on Piquette Avenue. This plant was designed to produce the Ford Model T. Many of Ford's employees built homes in nearby Highland Park, whose population grew as new employees were hired at Ford.

Ford also invested in infrastructure, including a water treatment and distribution plant, and the Detroit Street Railway operated an electric streetcar line on Woodward Avenue which led to the Ford Model T plant. Highland Park was incorporated as a city in 1918.

However, Ford began work on its Rouge Plant in 1919, finding that the Highland Park facility was not ideal for its production goals, largely because of a dependence on rail transport. Ford planned to produce its own steel, and it needed more space, and greater rail and water access to process the raw materials. When the Rouge Plant opened in 1926, much of its automobile production was transferred from the Highland Park plant. Although Chrysler built a 150-acre facility in Highland Park, it didn't hire the numbers of people as Ford had.

Between the 1920s and the 1930s, Highland Park was fully developed and, because Detroit had annexed all of the lands beyond Highland Park's borders, there was no room for expansion. Due to a combination of smaller family sizes and vacant, foreclosed, and abandoned property within the city limits, as well as an exodus from the inner city areas, Highland Park has declined steadily since 1930, with a population of 11,776 in 2010, projected to decline further in 2020.

Highland Park is the focus of this category. Websites representing the city or any businesses, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, and events within the city are appropriate for this guide.



Recommended Resources

Search for Highland Park on Google or Bing